Scripture Reading: Numbers 23:27-26:11 / Luke 7:11-35 / Psalm 38:1-12
The opportunity for wealth, riches or power is a difficult thing for people to ignore. Surveys have asked people what they would do for a million dollars and some of the answers were, “Have my forehead tattooed” “Give up 10 years of my natural life” “Abandon my family” and “Poison a stranger”. There were many more bizarre and immoral things people said they would do for money. The greatest treasure we have is not for sale or open for negotiation. Our relationship with Christ, faith and salvation are more valuable than even the greatest amount of riches.
We read of a prophet named Balaam who compromised his integrity, giftings and faith in pursuit of riches. Balak, King of Moab,
offered Balaam a sizable amount of wealth for him to prophesy curses and destruction over Israel. The temptation was too great for Balaam and God allowed him to follow his sinful heart. On his journey, he faced the rebuke of his donkey, the correction of God and the continual hammering of the Holy Spirit.
Balaam prophesied over Israel 2 times but as he spoke, God brought forth from his mouth blessings, not curses. Here in Numbers 23, he prepares to speak again but this time moves to a different place and as he looks over Israel in the wilderness below it says, “He did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face toward the desert.” (Numbers 24:1)
He knew the purpose of God was to bless Israel, not curse them so he did not use enchantments this time and did not seek The Lord. He was attempting to speak on his own behalf and finally accomplishing the conditions set by Balak and finally receives his financial reward. Yet this 3rd time and a following 4th time; was likened unto the first two… God prophesied blessings over Israel through Balaam.
But it wasn’t over for Balaam because we read in Revelation 2:14, “Balaam…taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication.” Balak followed Balaam’s counsel by sending young Moabite women into Israel’s camp to lead Israel into sexual immorality and idolatry. Because of their sin, God did curse Israel, killing 24,000. (25:9)
Balaam was guilty of the greatest of sins; deliberately leading others into sin…and he did it for money. Greed was Balaam’s vice and it led him down a pathway of destruction. We may never think about forsaking Christ under the greatest of persecutions but many have because of the allurement of money and financial security. If Judas could betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the sinful and financial attraction the enemy places before us is a real threat. May we not maintain an external obedience while being governed by a greedy heart…we will gain nothing but lose everything!